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Apr 27, 2008

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David Rogers

Malcolm,

Just a couple of questions to help me understand better what you are saying...

If I am unable to unequivocably embrace your 4th, 5th and 7th major points (although agreeing with you on the others, and some sub-points of these), does that mean that I am not truly a Baptist?

Do you consider there to be a difference between an "ecclesial coalition 'together for the gospel'" and other types of coalitions "together for the gospel"?

Are there legitimate ways to cooperate with Pentecostals other than an "ecclesial way"? If so, what might these be?


Wade Burleson

Believing David Rogers' questions to be very pertinent, I do not wish to distract from the time required to answer them. However, if I might add a couple of simple questions to his. You wrote:

Baptists do not baptize apart from the local church, because baptism involves local church membership.

My questions: Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized? Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized - having come to Jerusalem from all over the known world?

And, if you are unable to identify the local churches, is it possible that our early Baptist fathers were correct that baptism does not admit anyone into the local church? One such early Baptist wrote:

Baptism does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it. John Gill

In light of your statements here, that the principles you put forth, including 'baptism involves local church membership,' are 'bedrock fundamentals' of Baptist Identity, will you at least admit that one of the principles you call bedrock is a departure from historic Baptist belief, and that if this is the case, then the new Baptist Identity movement, which is making tertiary issues 'bedrock fundamentals'
is a movement that will ultimately separate, isolate, and disintegrate all cooperation - even among Baptists?

Just wondering.

Malcolm Yarnell

Brother David,

Allow me to answer your questions in short:

1. If Baptists want to be biblical in their obedience to Christ, how would compromising the Word of God in these matters benefit them?

2. Perhaps like you, I believe there are levels of cooperation, but non-ecclesial cooperation at best remains temporary. It is especially difficult to attempt to confess anything with regard to the church while engaging in such cooperation. When Christians, who confessedly attempt to fulfill Christ's commands completely, attempt to confess a proper ecclesiology in collusion with other Christians, who confessedly undermine those commands, we may find ourselves compromising our witness to Him with regard to baptism or another aspect of "all things whatsoever" He has commanded. These "things" are important enough that the Risen Savior included them in His Great Commission, so perhaps we should be careful about overlooking them in a confession. Of course, the love that we have for the gospel of Christ drives us closer to other folk who also have a love for the gospel. Perhaps such cooperation may provide the opportunity for a gentle reminder about the change that the gospel brings in people.

3. Proper evangelism ends up being a church exercise, because a convert's first confession of faith is properly baptism, which is a church ordinance. Moreover, a proper confession of faith affirms all that the Word teaches and the Word does teach eternal security and it does not teach a subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. Thus, the only form of cooperation that seems possible when working with Pentecostal Christians is co-belligerancy with regard to public policy (standing against abortion, for the family, etc.). Evangelism, because its proper end is the planting of New Testament churches confessing New Testament doctrine, should be ruled out of the picture, definitively, whether here in the United States or abroad. Unless, that is, we are not very concerned to teach what the Word teaches. Of course, as all of the pastors of Bellevue Baptist Church have taught us for so many years, we Southern Baptists are supremely concerned about upholding and teaching God's inerrant Word.

Reverend Burleson,

Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology.

I pray you have had a worshipful Sunday in your respective Southern Baptist churches, kind sirs. We have a fine convention of churches, because we have a perfect Lord, don't we?

In Christ,
Malcolm

Steve

Mr. Burleson, What conditions would require a person baptised by immersion to be EXCLUDED from church membership?
Surely whatever case required exclusion from church memebrship would also require one to refrain from baptising the person.

peter

All,

Because of the time restraints that too many questions would press upon Dr. Yarnell, please understand if I do not allow rapid fire questions. Nor will I allow a single commenter to dominate.

Dr. Yarnell has been gracious to write this essay. And, I realize since he is an accomplished theologian, many will desire to dialog with him (And who would not choose to dialog directly with a scholar about an issus rather than another)

That said, I trust you will understand if I place all comments in moderation as we proceed.

As a courtesy to Professor Yarnell: he need not feel obligated to respond to any single question.

Grace to all. With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Malcolm,

1. I am sorry, but it does not seem to me that your question #1 answers the first question I asked you. Are you willing to answer my question?

BTW, I do not feel that my views compromise the Word of God.

2. Maybe the following questions will help me express more specifically the point I am getting out here:

Do you consider such endeavors as the "Together for the Gospel" conference, "The Gospel Coalition," and or "The Lausanne Movement" to be "ecclesial coalitions"? Where do we cross the line from "non-ecclesial" to "ecclesial" coalitions?

3. From what I understand you to say here, we may cooperate with Pentecostals only on the same basis we may cooperate with Catholics, Jews, and Mormons. That is incredible to me!!! I doubt seriously that there are many Southern Baptists who would agree that we should not cooperate at all with Pentecostals in evangelistic endeavors. I can assure you that my beloved father, Adrian Rogers, did not support such an extreme view.

4. If you choose not to answer Wade Burleson's questions, I also ask you the very same questions. You can give your answer to me, and Wade can just look in. :-)

Jeffro

Dr. Yarnell,

Based upon your fourth & fifth points my sister and brother in law who are IMB missionaries in Eastern Europe aren't traditional Baptists. They have been in country for 2 years, and baptized only 5 people. Two of the five were led to Christ out of country while working and had never been baptized. They are now out of country working again and not a member of any church. A third was their first "convert" if you will, who is now heavily involved in the local JW cult. The other two converts have been baptized and regularly attend weekly Bible study, but there is no covenant, no doctrinal statement, no organized local church for them to be baptized into. So, are my sister and brother in law traditional baptists or not?

Secondly, could you please explain your Biblical evidence for not baptizing those who have assurance of their "eternal" salvation (emphasis on eternal)? Are you saying that "traditional Baptists" don't baptize anyone who doesn't believe that they have "eternal security?" Did the Ethiopian eunich have this assurance? Or the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost? Were Peter & Phillip not "traditional Baptists?"

Finally, could you please explain to me how "together for the gospel" is an ecclesial coalition? Also please, if you will, explain how your relationship and involvement (such as preaching an "orthodox" sermon in an Episcopalean church) with those who are not Baptist is not an ecclesial coalition.

r. grannemann

The problem I see in Malcolm's comments is that it implies a distinction between the church and the Kingdom of God. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God, not the church AND the Kingdom of God. The church in the NT is generally spoken of as a local assembly of God's kingdom people. Paul's use of "church" in the universal sense in Ephesians is identical with Jesus' terminology of Kingdom. And Jesus said one enters the Kingdom by the New Birth through faith, not by baptism. Baptism is a symbol of entrance, not a means of entrance. This is bedrock Baptist doctrine.

I believe in Baptist ecclesiology, and that will likely (and regrettably) limit our cooperation. But I don't believe Baptist ecclesiology is the requisite for a true church. The new birth is sufficient for that, and to say otherwise borderlines on a false gospel.

Malcolm's doctrine of "true baptism", with all its requirements, is just a shade away from campbellism.

peter

All,

I'll be out for a few hours. Hope to return by mid afternoon. I'll post some comments then.

Please do not lose patience. I think this post will be up until at least Thursday. Honestly, it needs to.

In addition, I think Dr. Yarnell's essay may set the record on readership of any one post, whether or not the amount of comments posted reflects such.

Grace to all. With that, I am...

Peter

Malcolm Yarnell

David,

If you need a definitive answer on what makes a "true Baptist," your church membership will determine that. I would encourage you to look beyond that, however, to the basis of Baptist church membership, which is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Thus, my reference to His Lordship.

Your second set of questions was not the intent of my short essay. The answer to your questions, however, may lie in how you respond to this question: Do you see these movements as the church? If so, then, yes, they may be ecclesial movements. If not, then they may not be. I certainly do not give any of these movements ecclesial importance and would be deeply troubled by any claim that they possess such.

Thirdly, your incredulity at the desire to keep a distance between Pentecostal theology and Baptists seems itself, at least on the surface, difficult to believe. As for your father's beliefs, I am unaware of anything he ever taught with regard to bringing Pentecostals and Baptists into ecclesial fellowship. Perhaps you could point out a sermon series or something in this regard?

Finally, since you are willing to interact on behalf of the other questions raised, and since my answer is found in germ form in my initial response, perhaps you could answer Steve's question for him.

Jeffro,

Unless things have changed, IMB missionaries are sent by their local churches. Your relatives who are missionaries in a difficult place would therefore be an extension of their own local church's ministry and therefore also be responsible spiritually to that local church. Most likely, your relations see it as their task to help a new church in their field of service come into being through covenant.

The faith into which we baptize is the faith defined by Scripture. This faith includes eternal security, because it is defined by Scripture. Why would we not include eternal security in our definition of the faith into which we baptize? In case you assume this is a belief that began with the Landmark movement, please take a look at the Charleston statement on church discipline. It shows that such a belief goes to the very historical roots of our denomination.

Whether T4G is an ecclesial coalition is a question best directed to that organization's sponsors. You may want to start looking for an answer to your question with their confession, and then direct your query toward them. As for preaching in Episcopal churches, I have, like Paul at the Areopagus, used whatever forum available to present the gospel. However, like Paul who called the Corinthian church to discipline its membership and practice the ordinances properly, I emphasize proper ecclesiology.

Grannemann,

Most theologians recognize that the Kingdom and the Church are distinct though related entities in Scripture. I myself do not equate the two of them; otherwise, one may find oneself at home in the Graves wing of the Landmark movement.

Faith and the new birth are the beginning of salvation, but one must not stay in a stillborn state. Rather, salvation calls for growth, and the first step towards growth is confessing one's faith in baptism. This is hardly Campbellism; rather, Baptist theology stands over against both Campbellism and Presbyterianism, both of which have elements that teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, a doctrine that Baptists correctly refute.

May each of you have a blessed day. I do enjoy interacting on the web with Peter's friends, but I must move on to other responsibilities. There are others, however, who will likely answer your queries. I will return as possible within the next day or so.

In Christ,
Malcolm

peter

Bro. r. grannemann

Thanks for your question. Just an interjection if I may. Note Dr. Yarnell made it perfectly clear, I think, that he mentioned of other Churches as Churches, did he not?

Nor can, it seems to me, the question be taken seriously about what Dr. Yarnell refers to as "ecclesial" relations. For me it seems self-evident.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Mr. Burleson,

To cite as an authority, Dr. Voluminous, is not out of the question obviously. And, we are aware of your special admiration for him.

In addition, as many fine qualities as he may have possessed as a theologian, that does not make him at all speak authoritatively for a developed ecclesiology.

I cite one example which, I assure, could be compounded by many more:

"That it is the duty of every man and woman, that have repented from dead works, and have faith towards God, to be baptized...and being thus planted in the visible church or Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.3)[sic]..."(Lumpkins, Confessions, p.209.)

This is from Article XXIV, of The Somerset Confession, a Particular Baptist confession from 1656. Gill spoke for neither Baptists at large nor even the Particular Baptists from which came the 1644 Confession you have elsewhere advocated.

With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Malcolm,

From your last comment to me, I take it that you do regard me to be a "true Baptist," since I am currently a member of a self-confessing "Baptist church," and I am doing my best to submit to the Lordship of Jesus, as I understand it. This still seems to me to conflict, though, with what you said in your original post, with respect to your seven points. I guess that leaves us at a sort of "Mexican standoff" on this particular issue.

Regarding "ecclesial coalitions" or "movements," I guess I am going to have to "deeply trouble" you. Since I understand what theologians have called "the church militant" as distinguished from the eschatalogical "church universal" as authentically "ecclesial," it seems to me that, yes, in a sense, these various endeavors may also be called "ecclesial." That does not mean, to me, that they necessarily carry out all of the same functions as a local congregation. But, yes, they are "ecclesial." Once again, it seems this leaves us at a sort of a "Mexican standoff."

Next, I do not necessarily equate refraining from joint evangelistic efforts with Pentecostals with a "desire to keep a distance between Pentecostal theology and Baptists." Apparently you do.

Neither did I say anything about "bringing Pentecostals and Baptists into ecclesial fellowship." Of course, in line with what I have already stated in regard to the "church militant," I believe we are already in "ecclesial fellowship," and cannot actually be brought out of it. I also believe that, beyond this, the Scripture teaches us that it is the will of our Lord that we "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). The context of this verse the "one body," that is, at least as I understand it, essentially equivalent to this very same "church militant" (though also embracing the entire "church universal" down through history and eternity). I think we might properly call this "ecclesial fellowship" as well.

However, I am not suggesting that Baptist congregations ought to teach Pentecostal doctrine, at least not those particular points of doctrine in which we happen disagree with each other.

Regarding my father, I know that I personally translated an evangelistic sermon for him that he preached in a Pentecostal church in Badajoz, Spain, in which one young man surrendered his life to Christ, and continued on afterwards under the discipling ministry of that Pentecostal congregation. I can assure you my father rejoiced at this opportunity, and had nothing negative in regard to it. I also know that his television program has aired for years now, with his approval, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I don't know if you would regard this as "cooperating in evangelism" or not, though.

Regarding Steve's question, I would respond that the biblical requirement for baptism is the same as that given by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch: "If you believe with all your heart, you may" (Acts 8:37).

Now that I have answered Steve's question (if I have understood it correctly), I still would sincerely like to know your answer to Wade's questions.

peter

David (Rogers),

Thank you my brother. We see perfectly well the differences you've made quite evident between your view and Dr. Yarnell's. Your impasse is now clearly noted.

As for answering Mr. Burleson's question, please consider that a done deal in Dr. Yarnell's first response with the "germ" of it and my response pertaining to Mr. Gill.

I hope your evening well. With that, I am...

Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

Just a question, because I believe you are implying something using your father as an example.

You write; I can assure you my father rejoiced at this opportunity, and had nothing negative in regard to it. I also know that his television program has aired for years now, with his approval, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I don't know if you would regard this as "cooperating in evangelism" or not, though. In this statement you are implying that your father was an active participate in crossing theological boundary lines when promoting the Gospel. That, I believe everyone would agree. I would be the first to tell you that what I understood of your father's ministry was that everyone should preach the Gospel wherever the Lord opened a door for one to preach. However, you seem to imply that it goes further than that as you have pointed to your father's ministry being on the TBN Network. Let me ask you a question that I believe will clear this up, at least for me. Did your father ever have Paul and Jan Crouch come to Bellvue and allow them to speak to the people there?

Blessings,
Tim

David Rogers

Tim,

No, my father never had Paul and Jan Crouch as guests at Bellevue.

As I understand it (and I believe my father understood it the same way), cooperating with others in evangelism or other ministry who do not agree with you on certain points of doctrine does not necessarily mean inviting them to come to your church and teach their different views of doctrine.

I believe the Pentecostal church in Badajoz, Spain understood this principle when they invited my father to come and preach. Cooperation with others who differ on secondary points of doctrine does not necessarily mean compromising our own views on those same points of doctrine.

This seems fairly simple to me. Frankly, I am surprised this is even up for question. Such closed-mindedness is definitely not the way I grew up believing all my life, under my father's ministry. I was taught rock-solid convictions regarding the authority of the Word of God, and my own personal doctrinal beliefs, though.

David Rogers

Peter,

I will reluctantly consider it a "done deal" that neither you nor Malcolm want to really answer Wade's question (and mine).

Steve

I am sorry David, but clearly you have not understood my question. Would you like another attempt?
Steve

Steve

or colloquially, "avanuvergoyermug!"
Steve

David Rogers

Okay Steve,

I would agree that "whatever case required exclusion from church memebrship would also require one to refrain from baptising the person." In other words, whenever a person gives clear evidence in their life that they, in fact, do not believe with all their heart, they should be excluded from church membership. This, however, should only be undertaken after due opportunity for repentance is given, following the steps lined out in Matthew 18.

We should also be careful to remember, as Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:24 that "the sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them."

Does it look like I've understood your question better now?

Frankly, I'm not sure I really get the point, though.

Steve

Well, wouldn't that also exclude a person from being baptised?
Steve

peter

David,

May I say to you as clearly as I know how with the language skills I presently possess:

as far as I am concerned, Mr. Burleson's question is answered.

Thus, you may be as reluctant to accept as you like; and you may view the answers given precisely as you wish.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

David,

In my first post, I testified clearly to both my love and appreciation for other Christians in churches of faith and order not of Baptist descent. Specifically, I mentioned my love for the Nazarene Church both then and now.

In other threads, I've mentioned to you my involvement in crusade evangelism, particularly with the Billy Graham Crusade model. I have cooperated even in evangelism.

I have said more than once that there are many liaisons with Christian groups I could feel comfortable with and have and still do.

The concern we've consistently stated which appears to really spark your piston is a boundary over which we will not step. You insist the boundary is one place and some of us another.

What I find a bit entertaining, as far as I am concerned, not to mention given my expressed love and service with those of other order and faith, is the impression I get reading your comments that those of us who are arguing for a "BI" are either tightening the screws or are "closed-minded" or even "extreme" in our views.

Thanks for a hearty laugh, David. You made my evening. With that, I am...

Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

I believe you will understand that I too, believe a healthy doctrine allows us to cooperate with other denomination in various ministry practices, ie. homeless shelter ministry, clothes closets, crisis pregnancy ministries, etc. But, as your dad would not allow other doctrinal positions espoused in the pulpit that God placed him, neither would he be part of planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine. If you try to say he would then, why was he not a part of the CBF?

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

Allow me to re-phrase that sentence. I said neither would he be part of planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine. What I meant to say was, neither would he be part of leading the SBC in planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine. I hope that makes better sense.

Blessings,
Tim

David Rogers

Steve,

Yes, indeed, as I stated earlier:

the biblical requirement for baptism is the same as that given by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch: "If you believe with all your heart, you may" (Acts 8:37).

David Rogers

Peter,

You need to understand that my comments related to cooperative evangelism in this post are framed in response, not necessarily to you nor to anyone else, but rather to the following statement by Malcolm, which I consider to be quite extreme, in his comment to me:

"Thus, the only form of cooperation that seems possible when working with Pentecostal Christians is co-belligerancy with regard to public policy (standing against abortion, for the family, etc.). Evangelism, because its proper end is the planting of New Testament churches confessing New Testament doctrine, should be ruled out of the picture, definitively, whether here in the United States or abroad."

David Rogers

Tim,

All that I can answer you is the following:

When my wife and I were appointed by Bellevue Baptist Church in 1990 as church planting missionaries of the interdenomational mission organization, Bible Christian Union, my father participated in and assented to our appointment.

Also, I myself would not "be part of leading the SBC in planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine." I believe we should be planting churches, not for other missional organizations, nor for the SBC, but rather for the advance of the Kingdom of God.

volfan007

david,

we believe that starting sbc type churches is planting is planting churches for the advancement of the kingdom of God. and, help me understand something...are you saying that there are churches out there that can be started by pentecostals and sb's? and, if you are, how in the world could this possibly work? because, i will guarantee you that the pentecostal crowd will want tongue speaking, and they will not want to believe in eternal security.

now, if you are joined with a pentecostal group in doing evangelism, would you be comfortable with them telling someone that they needed to be saved again? would you be comfortable with having a community wide crusade with pentecostal type churches involved....and, after you preached a clear, concise, gospel message...and people responded.... then, the pentecostal counselors would counsel the ones coming forward that they had to be saved again...that they had lost it and needed to be saved again, or that they had to speak in tongues as an evidence of salvation? would you be comfortable seeing people responding to your sound message, and then getting unsound counsel like that?

i was asked to be a part of a community crusade like what i'm describing. i refused to be a part of it, because i was not comfortable with the thought of how people would be counseled...people that i had invited to come...people who would hear me preach....people who trusted me.

david

Chris

Hang in there David. You are on the right track (Biblically, I might add). And as long as I have breath, I will fight the OPINION Malcolm shares of becoming the "norm" of the SBC. And I have a hunch that there are quite a few more who will join that battle...I have never been a part of a Baptist church that held to his view of baptism. I have seen individuals baptized because of their conversion and yet they were not made members because they were going to be moving and/or joining another church. Every church I have been at would have had no problem with that. I don't believe Scripture does either. This is not the understanding of most baptist out there. And the more we'll educate about this type of thinking (Malcolms), the better chance we have of keeping it from spreading.

Steve

So you would agree that the requirement for baptism and church membership is the same...
and therefore you disagree with Gill, who posits that church membership follows after Baptism, and is not part and parcell of the same.. 1 Cor 12:13.
Thanks David.
That's what the issue is with Gill.

David Rogers

David Worley,

The main point in all of this, as far as I am concerned, is that Malcolm said, in no uncertain terms, that he does not believe we can EVANGELIZE together with Pentecostals.

I will concede that trying to plant churches with true Pentecostals (2nd blessing theology with tongues as the evidence, and no eternal security) would be a challenge, though not perhaps impossible. There would need to be some agreement ahead of time regarding backing off of certain doctrines. And, I am NOT suggesting that we as Baptists back off of our doctrine. Neither am I saying we ought to actively pursue planting churches with Pentecostals. Just, that it is not entirely impossible.

There are definitely some evangelistic projects, and even church planting training and promotion projects, though, that can, and have been done quite fruitfully, with the joint participation of Baptists and Pentecostals.

In order to make these work, though, there would need to be a previous agreement on the part of all to not get into the points that divide us, leaving those for afterwards during the on-going discipleship and doctrinal teaching efforts of each group separately.

I would agree with you that, in such events, there is always potential for abuse, just like you have experienced. But, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation and need to get saved again, or that they must speak in tongues in order to be saved. As a matter of fact, the last I checked, the majority do not teach that last point.

David Rogers

Chris,

Thanks for the encouragement.

David Rogers

Steve,

No, I do not disagree with Gill on this point.

I do see your line of reasoning as a non sequitur, though.

David Rogers

Everybody,

I am going to bed. I will check this again in the morning sometime.

Blessings

Bryan Riley

I'm trying to determine how language from above, quoted below, is supposed to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Please explain how it does?

Reverend Burleson,

Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology.

Malcolm Yarnell

David,

I would agree with TIm Rogers that we certainly can cooperate with Pentecostals in certain social ministries, too. However, also in agreement with him, when it comes to evangelism and church planting, prudence would demand a limitation to such cooperation.

In Christ,
Malcolm

peter lumpkins

David (Rogers),

I trust your evening rest well. First, to make your expressed concerns here on the basis of what Dr. Yarnell wrote in the comment thread is incredible, David. You began in the very first comment you offered with "just a couple of questions to help me understand better what you are saying". You have ceased to ask since.

In addition, when Dr, Yarnell has answered, you at least three times accused him of not answering--and threw me in the mix for good measure.

Thus, to suggest that this is all about what Dr. Yarnell mentioned in the comment thread cannot, at least from my observation, be taken seriously.

Secondly, the fact that you were appointed overseas by an interdenominational mission board explains a bit more to me why you grandstand for your position as adamantly as you do. Frankly, I never knew such so this is a nice little jelly bean to enjoy.

Not, of course, that there's anything intrinsically wrong with serving for an interdenominational board. But it does explain, at least for me, your obvious flirtation with partnering with Pentecostals in planting Churches.

You mentioned to David that

"I will concede that trying to plant churches with true Pentecostals...would be a challenge, though not perhaps impossible. There would need to be some agreement ahead of time regarding backing off of certain doctrines. And, I am NOT suggesting that we as Baptists back off of our doctrine...All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation and need to get saved again, or that they must speak in tongues in order to be saved...the majority do not teach that last point.

A few reminders, David. First, it would not just be a challenge to partner with Pentecostals in planting Churches, it would be fatal to our Baptist heritage. And, please do not offer the shibboleth that it's about "Kingdom" work not "Baptist" work as if the two are mutually exclusive. They decidedly are not exclusive and/or contradictory and unless you're prepared to demonstrate the two are, it best to move on from that one.

The passion from this side is fueled by the very position you've just hinted at, David: partnering with other denominations to plant Churches. From my perspective, our missionaries should be about preaching the Gospel and discipling the saved, not about exploring interdenominational relationships or expending energy on just what doctrines you're willing to forfeit and what doctrines they are willing to forfeit to build a doctrinally hybrid "Church".

If this is what you have been lobbying for here, at Mr. Burleson's, at SBCOutpost and on your blog, know this my brother: you have not even seen objection to your idea yet.

And, what half way cocks my left eye to the right is, this is precisely my concern I've expressed all along with Enid's continued trumpeteering of "ecumenical evangelicalism" or, my term "evangelical anonymity", where we concede this and they concede that and we concede this and they concede that until we've "compromised" enough to form a "Church". No thanks, David. Count me out. And, I do not hesitate to say, count the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists out.

I challenge any one of you who believes this paradigm is the way Southern Baptists needs to do missions or believe Dr. Yarnell's view to be so extreme, bring such up at the SBC in June. Explain it in detail precisely which doctrines of the BF&M you like to see us concede to form a partnership "church". Let the vote's result determine whose idea is extreme. I'm willing to live with the result.

Secondly, your assumption seems to be that the Pentecostal Church is doctrinally soft and their idea of doing Church is liquid to the core. I do not know how it is where you are but I do know a bit about Pentecostals here.

Pentecostals are a confessional people as are we. They possess strong doctrinal statements. They believe strongly in what they are doing is the NT way in no less uncertain conviction than we.

You mentioned that "All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation". I live in Georgia, David, but I did not ride here on a Peanut truck.

Falling from grace is a Pentecostal doctrine. It's part of their confession. There may be some who don't believe that similarly to some Southern Baptists who believe one can lose their salvation.

But, for the most part, they're quiet about that. And if they were Pentecostal leaders who vocally attempted to suggest they forfeit "falling from grace", even in the name of planting churches, my guess is they'd be defrocked quickly.

You further state that "they [don't always insist on telling others they] must speak in tongues in order to be saved." I agree.

However, not only do most not insist on telling such, no Pentecostal doctrinal statement of which I am aware says such. If so, I'd like to know which one.

What all Pentecostals have in common is the Doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. Pentecostals do not believe such is optional but necessary.

Not to be saved, mind you; rather to be empowered by Spirit baptism, the non-negotiable evidence of which is the speaking in other tongues. In that, Pentecostals are just about as soft as a cussin' sailor's speech.

For you, then, to speak as if Pentecostals will easily concede such is, in my view, a larger disrespect toward Pentecostals and the distinction that sets them apart from evangelicalism at large, than any possible disrespect Baptists would commit by refusing an ecclesial alliance with them, David.

In the end, for my part, I will cooperate lots of ways with my brothers and sisters of other faiths and who name the name of Christ. But I will not cooperate where I must forfeit my convictions.

Nor will I ask of other faith groups that they forfeit theirs. That is just about as Baptist as one can get and sets Baptists apart from the Magisterial Reformers. They argued for their religious freedom and when they got it, they fought against others' rights to have theirs.

Baptists fought both for ours and theirs and won it. Once we won it, we continue to fight both for ours and theirs.

Thus, I am for no alliance, ever how small, that tempts another to forfeit his or her convictions. In my view, it's just dead wrong and dead against being Baptist.

With that, I am...

Peter

Lee

If it were possible to determine that one's own interpretation of scripture were inerrant and infallible, this would make some sense. Since that is not possible, and the current "Baptist distinctives" are not even completely accepted by most Baptists, it just looks like more of the same old arguments that Baptists are "more Biblically correct" than other Christians. It's the idea that only seminary professors can really understand the true meaning of scripture. It's the idea that has contributed to the decline of the church in North America.

Todd Benkert

Dr. Yarnell,

I offer the following in a collegial spirit and a desire to foster unity in the body of Christ. I believe that on point seven you are incorrectly equating assurance of salvation with the doctrine of eternal security. The two concepts are related, but not the same. It is possible to have one without the other.

I do not find that the Scriptures join the two. Wherever the Bible speaks of assurance, it speaks of one’s present experience with Christ. That is, a person has assurance because of the evidence of Christ working in him. Further, the Bible encourages believers to test themselves to see if they are in the faith, and to make their calling and election sure.

In 1 John, assurance comes with our present walk with Christ as we obey his commands (1 John 2:3), love the brethren (3:14), believe in his name (3:23) and the experience the presence of His Spirit (3:24). No where in this letter, written “so that you may know that you have eternal life,” (5:13) does John link assurance with our initial conversion experience.

When a Baptist is not walking with Christ, he may indeed be saved, but he will not have assurance that he is. A person can thus believe in eternal security, but lack assurance. Anecdotally speaking, I am sure of my salvation, not because of my conversion experience 31 years ago coupled with my belief in eternal security. I am sure of my salvation because of the evidence of the Spirit as he works in and through me and my faith in the cross of Christ.

Further, true Arminianism does not foster doubt of one’s salvation. Arminians believe that salvation is both “received and kept by faith.” If one believes, his eternal destiny is sure. It is only if one abandons the faith “by rejecting Christ” that one “loses” salvation. In reality, assurance is faith, so it is not improper for an Arminian to say that assurance is based on faith. Further, in our experience as believers, both Arminian and Baptistic views of the security of the believer are tied to faith. The difference is that when an Arminian abandons the faith they say that such a person is no longer saved and when a Baptist abandons the faith we say they were never saved in the first place. Either way they’re lost.

The possible danger of Arminianism, when not properly understood, is that one would have false doubt. The possible danger of our Baptist view of eternal security, when not properly understood, is that one would have false faith (I prayed a prayer, so I’m saved forever). All this is to say that assurance and security are related but not inseparable. A Baptist can believe in eternal security and still not be sure of his salvation. Likewise, an Arminian can be assured of his eternal salvation without believing in eternal security.

I agree that Arminian doctrine is in error. I do not believe, however, that Arminian belief is a false faith or deficient gospel. I submit that a baptism should not be disqualified because of a lack of belief in the doctrine of eternal security alone.

Blessings,
Todd

Note: the quotes can be found in the Assembly of God’s position paper on eternal security. http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_4178_security.cfm

r. grannemann

Malcolm,

The declarations that "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," and that Jesus" will build his church" come nearly simultaneously in history. The Kingdom and the Church were begun by the same person (Jesus), at the same time (during Christ's earthly ministry), and of the same people (God's forgiven saints). Why postulate two different entities with different means of entry - one via baptism (campbellism) and another via the New Birth (Protestant evangelicalism) - for such congruent things?

One of Isaac Newtons rules of reasoning in natural philosophy was "for the same natural effects to, as far as possible, assign the same cause." Some analogue of this, it seems to me, is appropriate for biblical interpretation.

Thanks for your previous response.

Chris Bonts

Peter,
Just for the record, and in response to the anti-Baptist Identity folks. Baptism was viewed as a prerequisite to church membership and the Lord's Supper in ALL THREE versions of the Baptist Faith and Message. This position is not a new one. Apparently there has always been a great deal of agreement about what Southern Baptists believed on this issue.

Chris Bonts

volfan007

david rogers,

what peter said. :)

i, too, do not see any way to start churches with pentecostals. i know a lot of them. they all believe very strongly that one can lose his salvation, and they get fired up when you suggest different.

i also know that they are all big on tongue speaking. now, i concede that not all of them would say that you have to speak in tongues to be saved...but there are definitely some that do believe and teach this...that tongue speaking is an evidence of salvation. others, and possibly most pentecostal type groups, would say...as peter pointed out... that tongue speaking is definitely a sign of being filled with the Holy Ghost.

i could not ever start a church with a group like this, nor with one that believed in baptising babies, nor with a group that believed that salvation comes thru baptism. i could not and would not ever want to be a part of something like that, and i would be very against cp and lottie and annie dollars going to some kind of ecumenical fuzzy church plants.

also, i personally just could not join with pentecostal type groups in evangelistic efforts while knowing that if a person who was saved, but having doubts, talked to the pentecostal counselor about it.....that that pentecostaly counselor would tell him that he had become lost again, and needed to be saved again. would you be ok with that?


david

David Rogers

Malcolm,

If you were to have worded your last comment like this...

"when it comes to evangelism and church planting, prudence would LEAD US TO CAUTION AND CERTAIN LIMITATIONS to such cooperation"

... I would have no problem agreeing with you.

Matt

This has been interesting reading, but I am trying to wrap my mind around it. It just leaves me with one question:

Since the Bible says that "all peoples" will hear the Gospel, and only then the end will come, and since that has become the basis for our (very correct, and very important) focus on unreached people groups,

Does that mean "all peoples" must be exposed to a "true Baptist" Gospel before the end will come?

If the answer is "no," then shouldnt we encourage and cooperate with any denomination that teaches the true Gospel as long as the small things dont get in the way of exposing all peoples to the Gospel and quickly ushering in the return of Christ?

It will take many more millenia for Christ to return if the SBC are the only ones who are doing the work.


If our goal is the return of Christ, let's see that happen sooner, rather than slow it down with our fallible, human interpretations of tertiary issues.

Todd Benkert

Volfan007,

I agree that we should be cautious in whether and how we cooperate with Pentecostals. In your example, However, I offer another scenario:

Would you work with a Baptist counselor who would point this same person to the date he wrote in his Bible or his memory of praying the sinner's prayer (rather than leading him to examine his faith in order to lead him to either assurance or conviction -- 2 Cor 13:5)?

The attitude of your hypothetical Arminian counselor is no more true to classic Arminian belief than my hypothetical Baptist preacher is to true Baptist belief.

I agree it may be difficult to work with Pentecostals for a variety of reasons, but not because they are Arminian.

Blessings,
Todd

David Rogers

The capital letters in the last comment are not meant to be taken as shouting. I just don't know how to include italics in TypeKey comments.

peter

Dear:

Brother Lee, To argue that holding deep convictions about how to do Church is perceived as being "More Biblically correct", I could not be more pleased.

And, I am willing to both bestow upon and argue for my Pentecostal brother or sister the very same freedom to embrace.

Nonetheless, I have not--and certainly Dr. Yarnell has not--remotely suggested anything here or elsewhere that could be contrued as "inerrant". That is patently absurb.

Brother Todd,

Thank you for your irenic post. I trust Dr. Yarnell, if he manages to gain a moment of time, would be delighted to respond. Grace...

Brother r. grannemann,

If I may, you possess a fundamental confusion not recognizing a clear distinction between the Church and the Kingdom of God. Imagine, given your textual reference, when Jesus came preaching, He uttered "Repent, for the Church is at hand"!

Even more, my brother, it is precisely the Church of Christ (campbellites), which, in its ecclesiology, fails to make such a crucial distinction in the NT. Thus, your implicating Dr. Yarnell in making the distinction, falls right into the lap of campbellite theology.

Chris,

Thanks for the note on the BF&M history. I fear we've become far too loose in our understanding of Church doctrine.

Some continue to accuse theologians like Dr. Yarnell for improperly tightening the screws down too tightly, thus stripping the threads.

They fail to see, that what Dr. Yarnell is doing is not tightening screws tighter still; rather he is tightening a loose hinge before the blasted door falls off!

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Peter,

Maybe I am wrong here, but I always thought that one of the purposes of blogs, and their corresponding comment threads, was to engage in reciprocal dialogue. It is true that I changed my line of dialogue to Dr. Yarnell after reading his comment to me in the comment thread. But that is because he said some new things in his comment that I had not heard him say before, and which are very important issues to me.

If Dr. Yarnell chooses not to answer me, or anyone else, that is his prerogative. If you choose not to post comments, or only to post the comments that you like, that is your prerogative. It is your blog, after all. If it seems to me that I have not received an answer to my questions, I believe it is my prerogative to continue to ask for an answer. You said previously that, for you, it was a “done deal.” After voicing my original “reluctance” to agree that the questions had indeed been answered, I was prepared to let it rest. But, since you keep bringing it up, I answer you once more about it here.

Frankly, my understanding of the following…

“Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology”

… is a refusal to answer the questions being asked, not an actual answer (albeit in “germ” form).

Apparently, we interpret the same words differently. I don’t know what else to say, except to leave it for others who may care to examine for themselves the actual interchange to reach their own conclusions.

For me, I still do not know Dr. Yarnell’s answer to the following questions:

1. Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized?
2. Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized - having come to Jerusalem from all over the known world?

I could perhaps postulate, on the basis of his reply to Rev. Burleson, that he considers it to be the local church at Jerusalem. But, then again, he does not state such to be the case, nor give any rationale to support such a hypothesis.

I am also amused by your attempts at psychoanalyzing me, in regard to my past experience with interdenominational missions and my current views on interdenominational cooperation. An interesting factor you may not be taking into consideration, however, is that my former missionary organization, Bible Christian Union, was explicitly non-Charismatic/Pentecostal in its doctrinal guidelines. Although all of us are, no doubt, to a large extent, products of our environment and experiences, I can assure you that my personal views on these subjects are, more than anything else, a result of my own study and reflection on the teaching of Scripture.

Next, if you read my previous comments to infer a necessary incompatibility between “Baptist” work and “Kingdom” work, then you have misread me. I would hope that our “Baptist” work might always be, at the same time, “Kingdom” work. But, as Baptists, I certainly do not believe we have a monopoly on the Kingdom of God.

I, for one, am extremely committed to “preaching the Gospel and discipling the saved.” I am also committed, as a part of discipling the saved, to “teaching them to obey everything (Jesus has) commanded (us),” including the parts about Christian unity. I also believe that God’s blessings upon our evangelistic and discipling efforts will often be commensurate with our willingness to humble ourselves, and seek to join hands with our brothers and sisters in Christ, in obedience to the Great Commission.

Regarding “lobbying” at the various blogs you mention, I have done comparatively little commenting at either Rev Burleson’s blog or at SBC Outpost, especially as of late. It would be a mistake to conflate my own views with the varied and sundry views expressed there. However, if you (or anyone else) are truly interested in understanding my perspective on these issues, I have systematically laid it out on my own blog (loveeachstone.blogspot.com) over the last several years. I would love to interact with anyone on these issues who cares to think seriously about them. If the “overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists” choose not to agree with me, so be it. If someone can help me see how I am not interpreting and applying Scripture correctly, so be it also. But, at least, I am open to on-going dialogue on these questions.

Finally, in regard to Pentecostals, I can assure you I am on no soap-box defending Pentecostal doctrine. I have even openly debated a self-confessed Charismatic-Pentecostal quite extensively (as referenced here: http://loveeachstone.blogspot.com/2007/01/charismatic-continualists-and-non.html) on points of doctrine. Neither am I advocating joint church plants together with Pentecostals, as is continually being assumed here. I am merely responding to Dr. Yarnell’s amazing assertion that, as Baptists, we cannot, in good conscience, even evangelize together with Pentecostals.

I do think, though, that, once we are ready to forget about our denominational labels and openly dialogue with other brothers and sisters in Christ with an open Bible, we will be surprised many times by our false assumptions and the true degree of the differences that divide us. There will always be advocates of extreme positions of all stripes and colors. And, we must remain vigilant regarding true heresy and false teachers. But, not to the point of isolating ourselves, and a refusal to fellowship with those who are in agreement with us on the essentials of the Gospel.

peter

David (Rogers),

To imply as do you that at SBCT I "post only comments I like" is, from my standpoint, absurd. My record stands for itself, David. In over two years, to my knowledge, the only time I've ever placed on moderation my threads was on this post, and that for a mere few hours!

Yes, sireee. We surely have a track record here for shutting people down. I simply do not know how I am going to face the world of blogging again:^)...

You began with two questions "to make you understand better" what Dr. Yarnell said, but have repeated the "perogative" to ask not only yours over again, but insisting Dr. Yarnell asnwer Mr. Burleson's as well.

So, as for asking questions, ask them. But know I absolutely will allow no one to bagger a guest author, David. Period. I offer no apologies for such and I offer no more explanations about that.

Finally, I offer once again, the words you yourself wrote:

"I will concede that trying to plant churches with true Pentecostals...would be a challenge, though not perhaps impossible. There would need to be some agreement ahead of time regarding backing off of certain doctrines. And, I am NOT suggesting that we as Baptists back off of our doctrine...All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation and need to get saved again, or that they must speak in tongues in order to be saved..."

Not advocating? Not open to such? Not in support of such?

I'll simply allow your words to stand as they are.

With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Peter,

It is what it is.

David Rogers

David Worley,

I just realized I never answered your last question to me. Sorry.

In any case, No, I would not be okay with that.

Dave Miller

David Rogers,

May your honesty, forcefulness and grace be an example to other bloggers.

volfan007

david rogers,

then, how could you join with pentecostal type groups in evangelistic endeavors?

david

David Rogers

David Worley,

Because I don't accept the premise that cooperating with certain Pentecostal groups in certain evangelistic endeavors will necessarily lead to the scenario you indicate:

"knowing that if a person who was saved, but having doubts, talked to the pentecostal counselor about it.....that that pentecostaly counselor would tell him that he had become lost again, and needed to be saved again."

Rev.

Dr. Yarnell, when writing that it "has come to the fore amongst Southern Baptists due in part to recent efforts by some high profile Southern Baptist leaders, who have called our people to focus upon the building of bridges," are you speaking implicitly of the recent "Building Bridges Conference"? It seems you are saying, if this is your implication, that 'Calvinism' has the "potential to undermine our New Testament ecclesiology." Is this what you are saying?

You also seem to be implying that the recent "Together for the Gospel Conference" has led to "the diminution of Christ’s commands to His followers," and that being part of such a conference goes against your conscience because Presbyterians (or Methodists) are "errant believers" who "directly disobey our Lord Jesus Christ with regard to baptism." So, then, in your opinion, are all those Baptists who joined with fellow Evangelicals - whether Presbyterian or other - disobeying God when they attended that conference?

Do others at SWBTS agree with your view? If so, does this mean that Southwestern Seminary will soon stop accepting non-Baptist students?

peter lumpkins

Rev.,

My brother, glad you logged on. I am unsure about how Dr. Yarnell would answer some of your concerns, James, but if I may, I'd like to point out--NOT for Dr. Yarnell, please note--a couple of things for myself.

First, in Part 1 I posted, I made as clear as I know how to make with English language my love, appreciation and spiritual unity with believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter their Church politic or "ecclesial" (Dr. Yarnell's term) connection. Indeed one of the few promotional "buttons" on this blog site is "The Schooley Files".

Keith Schooley is a Pentecostal Christian, a graduate of Gordon Conwel and a darn good scholar and theologian in his own right. He is a self-identifying Arminian with whom, James, you would very much enjoy irenic, sober but challenging conversation over the Doctrines of Grace.

That said, Keith's classical Pentecostalism possesses profound differences from historic Baptists in the way we "do Church"--not the least of which, as you well know, is the unique teaching of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. Unlike later doctrinally liquid Charismatics who chose to make tongues "optional", classical Pentecostals affirm the initial evidence as necessary.

I embrace the view that while I can have real, authentic spiritual community and fellowship with classical Pentecostals as is Keith, there is no way to "ecclesially" align with them in a formal way. I can't.

And from my view, they can't either. Because if we did, who is going to concede their conviction? Will it be the Pentecostal, with demanding necessary evidence of speaking in tongues as a sure sign for Holy Spirit baptism?

This is a written doctrinal statement in the Assemblies of God Church, the largest body of classical Pentecostals today. It stands non-negotiable. Or will it be me, a Baptist, who demands no such criteria and in many respects I view the phenomenon with suspect.

What's very telling to me about this present conversation is, on Burleson's blog a year or so ago, the conversation is there when these same issues were being debated.

Then we raged about PPL. I made the point several times that the same arguments they were making for PPL, argued as well for Classical Pentecostals to be included. My point was virtually laughed at.

Today, in this thread, not one person has so much as uttered PPL. Rather, the argument has been over Pentecostals. The conversation subtlety shifted from PPL to full Pentecostalism without the slightest blink from those who argue it.

I apologize, James, for the long version but somewhere this open, "big-tent" philosophy must be stopped. Period.

David Rogers in this thread assures us he is not for giving up Baptist doctrines in the BF&M or planting Churches with Pentecostals but in the very next statement chokes the assurance to death by suggesting it would not be "impossible" to forge those formal alliances resulting in planting Churches with Pentecostals with, of course, a lot of planning work and dialog leading up to it, etc.

I am simply not going down that path. If I want an interdenominational Church, there are plenty to choose from.

As for the T4G, I have reservations about the theological footsies with those who Baptize infants. And, even John Piper--Oh, boy, I'm in trouble now for criticizing Dr. Piper--is so theological fuzzy now about his understanding of baptism, it's just weird.

Am I against T4G? I honestly have not thought that through as has Dr. Yarnell. That said, at the moment, I don't know. I am open to a full dialog with Dr. Yarnell concerning that.

Contrary to what some believe, Dr. Yarnell and I have had very little personal conversation about doctrinal issues in depth. Nor have I ever met him face to face. I look forward to the day when I can have fellowship and in-depth chat.

Back to T4G: presently, I have reservations but, the way I view it now, if there are no formal alliances which would demand concession on say, Biblical Baptism, or some other vital ecclesiological convictions, I would not officially object. And I fully invite Dr. Yarnell's worthy view at this juncture.

Know I stand open to correction on such either way.

I have presumed upon you James. For that I am sorry.

With that, I am...

Peter

volfan007

david rogers,

do you really believe that pentecostal type churches would not counsel in the way i described? that they would not talk to people about being saved again? that they would not tell people that they had to speak in tongues to give evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost?

my brother, i have been around them all my life. some of my family were from pentecostal type groups. i can assure you that they would counsel in that way.... in your unified evangelistic efforts and church planting.

would you not counsel the people that you were talking to about assurance of salvation...if that's the way the conversation was going? and, if they mentioned the tongue speaking that the others were doing in your joint church start efforts, and what about it? wouldnt you feel compelled to share with them the truth concerning tongue speaking? to help that young believer to understand sound doctrine?

david

David Rogers

Peter,

Apparently, you are unable to grasp the difference between "advocating" something and allowing for a cautious consideration of it. Not everything in life is black or white. Shades of gray exist as well.

volfan007

david rogers,

one more thing...and, when you shared with that young convert about the joy of eternal security, how do you reckon those arminian, pentecostal types are gonna respond? do you reckon that they'll respond with a "that's alright if you believe that way." i'd imagine the next few sermons would be on losing salvation being possible.

it just wont work....not unless someone is willing to change on some very important, second tier doctrines.

"let's get together and just preach Jesus" sounds good, but it's impossible to do. your theology will bleed thru everytime.

david

peter lumpkins

David (Rogers),

Why, gee, David, Thank you! I really had not noticed such. One learns something each and every day.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

David (Rogers),

By the way, as I look back, I did not even mention "advocating" in my comments to you, nor about your position. I did mention about you "assuring" us but then that assurance being "choked" to death, etc. by your later qualification.

I suppose now, my brother, perhaps a lesson or so in accuracy would be well advised.

Thanks though. I trust your evening well. With that, I am...

Peter


David Rogers

David Worley,

I admit it is possible that the scenario you describe may indeed take place. However, I have been in plenty of situations involving cooperation in evangelism with Pentecostal-Charismatic type believers in which these issues have never even come up. In most pre-conversion evangelism, there is usually no need to talk about these issues.

The fact of the matter is that, in many circles, many people from Pentecostal-Charismatic backgrounds are backing off of their extreme positions of the past, and coming to a more middle-of-the-road position.

Once again, you insist on implying I am advocating, arguing for, or recommending joint church starts with Pentecostals. If you read carefully, you will see that I have never said such a thing. I can see many potential pitfalls in such an endeavor. However, I am merely observing, at the same time, that it is not impossible. I have even seen some instances where it has worked.

There are actually many mission groups out there that are neither Pentecostal-Charismatic nor Anti-Pentecostal-Charismatic. In these organizations, people get matched together with those of differing convictions all the time. If this the ideal? In most cases, probably not. But, it can, and has worked. That's all I'm saying.

Even within teams of all Southern Baptists, you can find yourself on the same church planting team with convinced Calvinists and convinced "non-Calvinists" (let's not call them Arminians). In order to make it work, you make certain concessions. There are many other issues of a similar nature. It is hard to work on a team with others. You rarely see eye to eye with everyone on everything. But, in the long run, I believe it is much better working on teams than all by yourself.

David Rogers

Peter,

I am the one who said in this comment...

http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2008/04/baptist-ident-1.html#comment-112666722

...that I am not "advocating joint church plants together with Pentecostals."

My point is that my comments are consistent with each other, if viewed from the perspective that "advocating" and "allowing for a cautious consideration" of something are not the same thing.

Yet, you say that I "choke an assurance to death" that I have previously given, insinuating that I am being disingenuous in what I say.

Or, at least, that's how I read it.

r. grannemann

Peter,

"Repent, for the Church is at hand."

No, John didn't preach this, although maybe he could have. But then "church/ecclesia" was the term used for the temporal manifestation of the Kingdom AFTER it had arrived. Before it had arrived (when John preached this) there were no people to assemble.

The problem with postulating both a Church AND a Kingdom is that you develop two classes of Christians. All Christians are in the Kingdom by virtue of the New Birth, but not all Christians make it into the Church - at least that is the way I read Dr. Yarnell (see his discussion with David Rogers on David's blog). If I am wrong about this, then probably my disagreement with you and Dr. Yarnell about the equivalence of the Kingdom and Church is not that important to me. However, if all Christians are also in the Church, then what is the difference between the Kingdom and the Church? On the other hand, we are told "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." If some Christians are in the Church and some not, then how can all Christians be one?

To me, the true church/false church dichotomy (strong among Landmark Baptists but also a trait of many Protestant sects) is just one of many Christian perfectionist schemes. Others are the Pentecostal Holy Spirit baptism, Free Methodist second blessing, the Catholic church infallibility - all pretending powers we in our finite existence don't have. The "true church" doctrine which comes out of the Kingdom/Church dichotomy I take to be another "special class of Christians" thing related to these others.

peter lumpkins

David (Rogers),

Please, my brother. Here are your words here...just 10 minutes ago to which I responded:

"Apparently, you are unable to grasp the difference between "advocating" something and allowing for a cautious consideration of it. Not everything in life is black or white. Shades of gray exist as well.

How the rejoinder you just posted even comes close to making sense out of my observation that I have not used "advocating" and etc for your position, I cannot tell. Consequently, your moral in life for me to consider that all is not black & white but gray exists is just not sensible, David. It makes no sense.

Lord help us!

We're simply going to have to get past this tit/tat/tit/tat/tit/tat. It's driving me nuts. You "prove" you didn't say something but I did. Then I "prove" I didn't say something but you did.

The way I see this, David, we are simply not going to agree on the real content of this post. But rather than either of us admitting such, or engaging real content, we tit/tat/tit/tat/tit/tat with not a knat's behind of difference whether tit or tat is true as far as this post is concerned.

As for my part in this, my brother David, I deeply am sorry. I have wasted your time and my time, not to mention the readers time who have to wade through the tit/tat/tit/tat to even find substance.

Nor am I not a little embarrassed I've kept it going so long. Again, I apologize and am deeply sorry.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Dear Brother R.

Sorry, Brother. I just don't accept your interpretation.

First, the words I quoted were Jesus' not John's.

Secondly, you write: ""church/ecclesia" was the term used for the temporal manifestation of the Kingdom AFTER it had arrived". Could you show me just one single verse in the NT that validates your claim. Just one, that's all.

Thirdly, if what you say is true, there is a strange silence from Jesus Himself in the Gospel. He referred to the Church only twice in only one of the four Gospels.

Fourthly, you assert "The problem with postulating both a Church AND a Kingdom is that you develop two classes of Christians". How it necessarily follows that two classes come from this you do not explain.

You misunderstand Dr. Yarnell, Brother.

So far as I know, Dr. Yarnell does not deny what is called the Universal Church, which is made of all believers of all time. The Universal Church is clearly distinguished in the NT, it seems to me, from the Local NT Church. Nor are the two coextensive.

All true believers are a part of the Universal Church. In addition, no nonbeliever is a part of the Universal Church.

On the other hand, the Local Church is made up of both believer and nonbeliever--though that is not the ideal. The Local Church ought to be thoroughly regenerate.

Unfortunately, it is not nor never has been from the beginning. Even Jesus' disciples were not all regenerate.

The New Birth is absolutely necessary to be part of the Universal Church. The New Birth ought to be necessary to be a part of the Local Church. It is not.

What is necessary is profession of faith in Jesus Christ and assurance one is born again. Upon such profession, persons are baptized and become a part of the Local Church. Consequently, one is now nurtured in faith through, among other things, The Supper.

A person needs as prerequisite neither Baptism nor The Supper to be a part of the Universal Church. A believer must submit to both to be a part of a Local congregation.

I am not offering Dr. Yarnell's view but my own which I think is a thoroughly mainstream, historic Baptist understanding. Most of what I just reiterated comes straight out of John Dagg, the first writing Southern Baptist theologian.

I trust your day well. With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Peter,

Fair enough. Let's shake hands and make up.

David Rogers

Tat. You're it.


Just kidding! :)

r. grannemann

"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'" Matt. 3:1-2, NIV. Yes, Jesus also said that in Matt. 4:17.

In any case, I went back and looked through the Letters in the Rogers-Yarnell Dialogue on the Great Commission on David's blog. I now see it is possible I misread Dr. Yarnell because of my past Landmark background and sensitivity to certain issues. For example when Dr. Yarnell writes (In Letter #9 paragraph 11):

"The visible local church is entered through baptism."

and then specifies the myriad of qualification for true baptism on your blog, I presume he does not think other Christian assemblies are true churches. For he says In Letter 18 paragraph 14 "the Presbyterian churches deserve rebuke no more than any other non-New Testament churches."

But I now see I may be taking Dr. Yarnell too literally. I honestly don't know what he thinks, and I may go ahead and buy his book.

Finally, from what you wrote, I don't see how you distinquish the Universal Church from the Kingdom of God.

r. grannemann

Peter,

Also, you wanted verses which indicate the church is the temporal manifestation of the Kingdom.

"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.' ... Confessing their sins they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." Matt. 3:1,2,6.

Now read the Great Commission to see that baptism is a sign of the work of the churches (since we take the Great Commission as a command to the churches). Thus the connection between the Kingdom and the Church.

I will be out the rest of the day and can only check back late tonight.

William Marshall

Bro. Pete,

I have been thinking through some of these issues as they relate to membership. So I have an honest question about something you wrote in a comment.

You said: "A person needs as prerequisite neither Baptism nor The Supper to be a part of the Universal Church. A believer must submit to both to be a part of a Local congregation."

Here is my question: on what Biblical grounds do we make entrance into the local Church more difficult (more strict) than entrance into the Kingdom? Or how can we refuse membership in the local Church to someone we would consider a true believer (in the Kingdom)? I hope that makes sense. Thanks for your time,

wm

bill

Peter brings up an interesting point. I wonder how many Baptist churches discipline their members for not partaking of the Lord's Supper?

I would suspect that most SBC churches partake of the LS so infrequently that they probably wouldn't notice.

Steve

Our consitution states " Members who have notshared felowship at the Lord's table for a period of 3 consecutive months, without adequate reason shall be visited and every endeavour made to regain their participation in the church. In the event of a negative response, such members names may be removed from the rollby vote of the church, upon the recommendation of teh diaconate."

We have communion monthly.

On a differnet matter..
Do you guys know anyone called to university ministry? We have a university across the road from us with about 10,000 students on this campus and no active local church based ministry.

Steve

Steve

mmm still no reply to my question.. I guess it has been ignored...
"Mr. Burleson, What conditions would require a person baptised by immersion to be EXCLUDED from church membership?
Surely whatever case required exclusion from church membership would also require one to refrain from baptising the person."
Or was there ad hominem in it?
Steve


David Rogers

Steve,

I thought I answered your question. If not, you are going to have to explain it to me a little more clearly.

Todd Benkert

Peter,

You stated,

“What is necessary is profession of faith in Jesus Christ and assurance one is born again. Upon such profession, persons are baptized and become a part of the Local Church.”

http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2008/04/baptist-ident-1.html#comment-112788518

I completely agree. However, Dr. Yarnell seems to be stating more. He seems to indicate that a person who does not believe in eternal security cannot have assurance that he is born again.

It is this idea that is behind the IMB policy on baptism as it relates to eternal security, and it is with this idea I respectfully disagree.

Blessings,
Todd

Wade Burleson

Steve,

You ask a question and then make a statement:

(Question) What conditions would require a person baptised by immersion to be EXCLUDED from church membership? (Statement) Surely whatever case required exclusion from church membership would also require one to refrain from baptising the person.


Your statement only makes sense when one assumes baptism is the entry door into a local church. I do not believe the Bible teaches that - at all.

Baptism is identification with Christ. When the Ethiopian eunuch, after believing on Christ, asked Philip (not the local church), 'there is water, what prevents me from being baptized?'

Of course, the answer was nothing, and Philip immediately baptized him.

However, when a person petitions to join our church we examine their faith, their baptism AND their walk with Christ. Anything that would cause that person to be disciplined by our church is a barrier for admittance into our church.

Hope that answers your question, which I did not realize was addressed to me.

Wade Burleson

Steve,

You ask a question and then make a statement:

(Question) What conditions would require a person baptised by immersion to be EXCLUDED from church membership? (Statement) Surely whatever case required exclusion from church membership would also require one to refrain from baptising the person.


Your statement only makes sense when one assumes baptism is the entry door into a local church. I do not believe the Bible teaches that - at all.

Baptism is identification with Christ. When the Ethiopian eunuch, after believing on Christ, asked Philip (not the local church), 'there is water, what prevents me from being baptized?'

Of course, the answer was nothing, and Philip immediately baptized him.

However, when a person petitions to join our church we examine their faith, their baptism AND their walk with Christ. Anything that would cause that person to be disciplined by our church is a barrier for admittance into our church.

Hope that answers your question, which I did not realize you were addressing to me. I, too, read David Roger's answer and understood and agreed with everything he was saying in response to your question.

Rev.

Peter:
Thank you for your response. I agree with your statement, "I embrace the view that while I can have real, authentic spiritual community and fellowship with classical Pentecostals as is Keith, there is no way to 'ecclesially' align with them in a formal way." I understand that position completely. Of course, only Dr. Yarnell may answer for himself, but from the way I read his article, it seems that he is stating that not even "authentic spiritual community and fellowship" is possible with those who are non-Baptists. That is a huge problem for me, to say the least. Of course, Dr. Yarnell has said that my conclusions are a result of my own faulty logic and not from his statements. I'm hoping he will be able to clarify his statements because I don't believe I'm the only one reading his article in the same manner.

I'm also curious as to how the T4G Conference fits into this. I don't view it as an "ecclesial" affair, but simply as a conference. It isn't being promoted as a denomination or as a "fellowship" (ala CBF).

You speak of the need to draw down the "big tent" philosophy, such as including PPL, etc. With that being the case, should those who agree with your position seek to have PPL, etc., addressed by a new BFM Committee? If such a committee is formed, what will the issues at hand be for reducing the "big tent" (i.e., PPL, "Calvinism," etc.)?

Steve

So whom Christ has accepted is not acceptable to your church?
Steve

peter lumpkins

All,

I do apologize. I've just been unable to post. But I monitored to make sure we play nice.

I hope to respond to a few, at least, by this afternoon. I'll post again on this topic--Part III.

It's 95% a done deal to be posted by Sunday. It promises stimulation.

The plan now is that Part III will also be penned by a guest author. And, I'll probably wrap it up in a summary statement in Part IV.

I thought the series on Wine reign in popularity for a while (Still three posts to go). These two present posts, however, buried the entire wine series in the cellar.

The volume is amazing, which I think is, at least in some ways, indicative of much confusion about Baptist ecclesiology nowadays.

Were it not tragic, my britches would but bust with laughter. The slightest trace of Biblical confidence asserting historic Baptists are right in their understanding of NT ecclesiology brings the boldest pronouncements that we are arrogant, prideful, puffed up, love Southern Baptist more than our Savior Jesus, wed to Baptist but not Bible, etc etc. That is amazing to me.

And, even more amazing is the publicly stated but ignorantly believed implication that I do not believe in cooperation on any level with other evangelicals.

Given my very real, demonstrative involvement with evangelicals of all stripes--even recent, not distant pass--assures me that this dialog is driven not so much by quests for understanding but by political agendas.

I'll catch this thread later. With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

"And, even more amazing is the publicly stated but ignorantly believed implication that I do not believe in cooperation on any level with other evangelicals."

Peter,

I've looked through the comment string here on this post again, and skimmed through the string on your Post #1. I am not seeing where others have said or implied that you "do not believe in cooperation on any level with other evangelicals." I know I have not said it. Maybe it's somewhere else on someone else's blog.

If you could point me to where others have said or implied this, I will be happy to join you in debunking their misguided rhetoric.

Ron P.

Peter,

Their only way to win is by fear mongering. By casting fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) upon historic Baptist (biblical) beliefs, they are playing the fundamentalist and Landmarker cards. What so many seem to miss is that the issue is not narrowing the parameters of what it means to be Baptist, it is the widening of them! Their movement is nothing less than a watering down of historic biblical Baptist beliefs in order to be more ecumenical across the denominational divide while sacrificing our confessional identity.

To that end we either see a marked embellishment of facts and/or apparently deliberate misinformation or rather a shading of information (i.e. not telling the whole story by purposefully leaving out information that disputes their own viewpoints). Misinformation continues to be shown to be a tactic of the ecumenist. Those arguments are easily answered. But the arsenal also includes ad hominem personal attacks by the ecumenist (unlike the imaginary ones). Personal attacks are fine and encouraged by the irenic. But disagree with the irenic, point out the hypocrisy of the irenic, or not engage the irenic that is lawsuit happy, and voila, you are a "conversational terroist" or someone that is making personal attacks. What gamesmanship!

You are correct that this would be funny if not so tragic.

Ron P.

David Rogers

Ron P.,

It may well be that you are referring to completely other people, and not to me at all.

But since I have been a major contributor thus far in this particular conversation, I am concerned about the possible perception that I may be one of the ones doing what you say here.

Thus, it would be helpful to me if you could specify a little more what you are talking about.

Who, specifically, is using a "marked embellishment of facts and/or apparently deliberate misinformation or rather a shading of information"?

If you believe it is me, you need to provide some specific examples.

If it is not me, it would be helpful, given the context of this conversation, to clarify that.

Ron P.

David,

It is obvious that it is not you. Notice that the term ecumenist is singular not plural. I do believe the references to personal ad hominem attacks, imagined ad hominem attacks, and "conversational terrorist" clearly identify the leader of the ecumenical movement that I am referring to.

Bart and CB clearly identified on said person's blog, the misinformation, which has become a pattern and identified on numerous blogs.

BTW, I hope you and your family are enjoying your time stateside.

Blessings,

Ron P.

David Rogers

Ron P.,

Thank you for that clarification.

I think it is unfortunate that, in the midst of discussion on important issues, there is a tendency to brand the participants as representatives of one "camp" or "movement" or another.

Jesus said, "He who is not with me is against me." But, if we are all, in this discussion, at the bottom line, "with" Jesus, we ought not to categorize our brothers and sisters in Christ as either "with" or "against" us.

As individuals, we each have opinions and ways of thinking regarding many different issues.

I happen to agree with Wade Burleson on a number of different topics, and disagree with him on other topics. I also agree with Peter on certain topics, and disagree on others. And with Malcolm, etc.

That is not to say that we should not feel free to openly discuss issues, and express our points of view and disagreements with each other. And, whenever certain individuals get out of line in the way they treat others, we should feel free to correct them, and call them to task.

But labels are dangerous because people tend to get unfairly branded, and their ideas unfairly judged, just because others assume they are part of such and such a group or movement.

For me, the term "ecumenist" and "ecumencial movement," especially as used in the present discussion, is one such unfortunate label.

In some senses of the word, I identify myself as an "ecumenist," because it simply means someone involved in "initiatives aimed at greater religious unity or cooperation" (Wikipedia on "ecumenism").

However, there are many extra connotations that people attach to the everyday usage of that term with which I most certainly do not identify.

I will also go on record here as saying this does not just cut one way. The term "Baptist Identity" movement, "fundamentalists," etc. can also be used to broad-brush and unfairly brand people. So, I am not just saying this to one group of people.

Ron P.

David,

Thank you for the dialog. This is what I think Peter envisioned having with this post - open dialog without the personal attacks on the author. Thank you for not going to your own blog and attacking Dr. Yarnell and calling him names.

Unfortunately, the movement towards a more ecumenical SBC, which we do not agree on, is also defined by those who support it. Wade has almost become as caustic as his associate pastor. The repeated pattern of personal attacks against people from Enid, over the last couple of years has left a decidedly bitter taste in the mouth of many. Even those that agree with Wade on some of the issues have made the same observations.

I, like Peter have worked with non Baptists. Several years ago, while at my previous church, I actually helped build pews for a very poor charismatic Pentecostal Church in Mexico on a mission trip in cooperation with another SBC church. However, no CP dollars were spent, only the personal funds of those who went and the money raised by the church sponsoring the trip were used. I could help them in their time of need, but I could not partner with them and send converts to them because of their doctrinal and ecclesial practices. Why would I want to send new believers to a church, that, IMHO, does not teach proper Biblical doctrine?

I believe all of us who want to maintain Baptist identity, without compromising the doctrines we hold dear, regularly will reach across denominational lines where appropriate. But we will do it without compromising a view that we believe to Biblical and appropriate. Nor do we expect those of other denominations to compromise theirs. That is what being Baptist is about. I'll fight for my right to practice and believe, but I will also defend the right of those with whom I do not agree. It does not mean though that I want nor need to establish cooperation in areas that would require either of us to compromise.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Ron P.

David,

Let me also address your issue of labels. Ecumenism is not pejorative, at least in my view. It is a distinct term that I believe aptly defines the core of the movement that Wade is advocating. I prefer the dictionary.com definition:

of or pertaining to a movement (ecumenical movement), esp. among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at achieving universal Christian unity and church union through international interdenominational organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual concern.

If you know of a better definition than ecumenical to define the movement to widen the parameters of what it means to be Baptist, I would be open to using it.

However, fundamentalist, Landmarker and now Wade's choice of calling Baptist Identity a "fringe" movement are clearly intended to incite others for the purpose of firing up opposition to those of us who hold to a historical Baptist view, not some mythical new one that he claims has just recently been invented.

Blessings,

Ron P.

David Rogers

Ron P.,

The definition you providehere of "ecumenism" is precisely a good example of what I am talking about. It leads one to assume that if you support "ecumenism" you also support the World Council of Churches.

I believe in unity of all true born again Christians, but I do not believe in "church union through international interdenominational organizations" per se. That is, if you understand, as most people do, "church union" to refer to the organizational merger of all the denominations into one happy institution with recognized rules and leaders.

To tell you the truth, in what I have read from Wade, I don't think he believes in this either. Now, in regard to his choice of words in describing or labeling others, I prefer to remain unattached.

Of course, you aware that there is disagreement over the use of the term "widening the parameters" as well. Whether the parameters are actually being "widened" or "narrowed" all depends on your perspective.

If, for example, the starting place is the BFM (even the 2000 version), I don't hear Wade asking that we "widen" that parameter. I know the whole gender issue thing has been discussed. And, honestly, it sounds like he would be at least open to "widening" the parameter regarding only male pastors. But I do not hear him demanding or clamoring for us to do that.

By the same token, if the parameter is the BFM (any version), throwing PPL and non-eternal-security-based baptism in the mix would most certainly be "narrowing" the parameters.

If the parameter is, however, the understanding of certain theologians and many lay people(past and present) of these same questions, perhaps Wade (and I) are asking that this parameter be "widened." However, I believe it would be a big stretch to say the "narrower" views on these issues have been a consensus of Baptists, except for perhaps in the Landmark hey-day of the late 19th century (PPL, of course, being a more recent debate altogether).

As far as a better term, I personally like "Christian unity movement." But I'm pretty sure that wouldn't make much sense to those who believe in "Restoring Unity through Biblical Discipleship and Baptist Identity."

Ron P.

David,

Regarding whether these issues are narrowing or widening of parameters: Might it not be possible that Baptists previously have never had a need to address PPL, Women Pastors, and other issues until recently? I believe those are issues that Baptists never thought would be necessary to speak of, as no Southern Baptist would have raised them. In previous generations of Bapitsts, these were non issues. Thus, I would argue that issues that did not need addressing in the past, do now, because they are a shift from what Baptists have traditionally believed, even if it was not in our confessional documents. Our Baptist forefathers did not perceive a need for such. Baptists would never have thought there was a need to address something that Baptists basically agreed upon universally without the need to put it in a confessional statement, save the core doctrines that define Baptists and what we believe about God, salvation, etc. For example, our country's forefathers would never have believed that the U.S. Constitution would need to define marriage between one man and one woman as it too was something that none of them would have thought of. No one would have ever believed that such a thing would need to be put into the Constitution. Until recent times, none of issues that we are accused of "narrowing parameters" would have been raised in Southern Baptist churches, associations, state conventions and the SBC.

Therefore, I would argue that the issues that many of us are accused of narrowing parameters, are quite the opposite. We are defending historic Baptist beliefs that many are seeking to change, though it is not us that are changing what it means to be Baptist. I like the way Mike Morris put it tonight on Wade's latest post regarding the Baptist Identity movement:
I think it’s an attempt to clarify historical Southern Baptist distinctives rather than to redefine who we are in the sense of historical revisionism.

Blessings,

Ron P.

selahV

Ron P., that is the clearest most succinct explanation for what I see the recently labeled Baptist Distinctive "Movement" to be. It reminds me of the joke where the old man is driving his truck and his wife complained because they didn't cuddle and sit close to one another like they did when they were first married. And he said, "I didn't move."

As I see it, the voices defending Baptist Distinctives are simply standing where they always stood. It's others who are moving. selahV

volfan007

but alas, all of us "non-blue blooded" southern baptists seeking to clarify are only "small church" pastors of "declining" churches....thus, we ought to be quiet and let the "big boys of the sbc" dictate the way the sbc should go.

david

David Rogers

Ron P.,

What you write here makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways. It helps me to better see your perspective.

But, I think it would be good to be open to looking at things from a little different perspective, as well.

With regard to the issues that "Baptists basically agreed upon universally without the need to put it in a confessional statement," I think there is some legitimate debate as to just how universally Baptists have agreed on these things.

For instance, though I am not privy to the discussions on the BFM 2000, my impression is that the decision to not specifically address issues such as continuationism, tongues, and charismatic gifts was intentional. That is, because there was a realization that the opinion of Southern Baptists on these matters was not a consensus opinion. In "A Hill on Which to Die," Judge Pressler had already stated that it was not the intent of the Conservative Resurgence to go there.

Also, that I am aware, the IMB BoT policy was the first time eternal security had ever been officially linked to the validity or lack thereof of so-called "alien immersion." And, if it was addressed elsewhere, it was far from a universally accepted, consensus opinion of Southern Baptists.

On Women Pastors, I am more on board with the traditional conservative position. And the SBC has offically defined itself through the BFM. I am in support of the BFM on these questions.

The only thing I would add in is that, although we may, as Southern Baptists, choose not to officially support women pastors, that doesn't mean we should treat those who do, and even women pastors themselves, as anything less than our full-fledged brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be open to praying with them, fellowshipping with them, and sharing Christ together with them. And, also debating in a Christ-like spirit with them to try to show them why we think they are wrong.

David Worley,

I feel awkward saying this. But, the "blue-blooded" reference was something I had nothing to do with personally, and is something I would have never chosen to say about myself. I want to assure you that in no way do I consider myself as superior to anyone, and I very much support the idea that small church pastors, lay people, and all of God's people, have as much of a right and responsibility to let their voices be heard as anyone.

r. grannemann

I've had Russell Moore's book The Kingdom of Christ for a couple years, and looked inside it this morning for the first time. Here is some of what I found:

"The early fundamentalists and evangelicals were correct that issues such as baptism, the Lord's Supper, church polity, and the biblical basis for church membrship were not 'first order' issues requiring separation in terms of cooperative interdenominational endeavors, unlike the 'fundamentals' of biblical authority at stake in the denominational skirmishes. It is a mistake, however, to assume that these 'distinctives' are not matters of biblical authority, or that they have nothing to do with the church's 'primary task' of evangelism and missions." p161.

In arguing for a regenerate church membership on pp 163-62 Moore says: "If inaugurated Kingdom blessings are received by those who 'see the Kindgom of God' through the new birth (John 3:3), then it would seem that the church, as an initial manifestation of the Kingdom, must reflect that in its membership those who have experienced this new birth and are participants in the Kingdom blessings of the new covenant."

and

"a biblical ecclesiology seeks, however fallibly, 'to draw the line of distinction between the church and the world, exactly where God will place it at the last day.'" where he quotes R.B.C. Howell.

I couldn't find that Moore had any concern about being "baptized into the church" and that "true" baptism would require the doctrine of eternal security as a precept of the church which "authorizes" baptism.

In fact, Moore quotes Carl Henry p. 135 (Moore doesn't clearly comment as to whether he agrees or not, although he seems to) that the "closest approximation of the Kingdom of God today is the Church, the body of regenerate believers that owns the crucified and risen Redeemer as its Head."

This seems to be a healthier view of the church (to me) than what I interprete Dr. Yarnell to be saying. It would be helpful if Dr. Yarnell would clarify whether he views his requirements for "true" baptism as things a church should most appropriately do, or whether such "qualified" baptism separates Christian into "true" churches and non-New Testament churches and whether that puts born again believers into two catefories of Christians.

Ron P.

David,

I only have a moment, but again I thank you for the thoughtful dialog.

Regarding the issues, I agree that in 2000, there was debate on these issues. But I was referring to previous generations that did basically agree. For example, in 1925 I am unaware of a Southern Baptist who would have advocated any of the issues that you or I mentioned above. Therefore, the need to address it either through BOT actions, SBC resolutions or confessionally, did not exist. It does now.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Byroniac

SelahV:

You have expressed a form of the argument from tradition. It can be a persuasive argument, but by itself it is simply not enough. For me personally, arguments from tradition carry little weight (not none, mind you, but little). If we have always done it this way, show me why, and from Scripture. At the very least, I will not be the first who has had to be patiently taught the truth because I insisted on seeing it for myself, and not taking it simply on the authority of others.

Ron P.:

You said, "That is what being Baptist is about. I'll fight for my right to practice and believe, but I will also defend the right of those with whom I do not agree. It does not mean though that I want nor need to establish cooperation in areas that would require either of us to compromise."

I understand where you are coming from in making that remark. However, as I see it, no one has an inherent right to believe and practice error. I believe the right to freedom of worship is purely from the human perspective in one sense, and must be defended in the coding of our laws and practice of religion. We are free to worship God within the boundaries of the liberty He gives us by His Spirit, of course, and I am not discounting that. But what I mean is, I do not pretend that all forms of belief and practice have equal validity; I even have to acknowledge that wherever I am in error, the truth is superior to whatever I have in its stead.

This is what I am driving towards in my comments. I believe all denominations are essentially man-made divisions of theological categories. There is only one truth, because there is only one God, one faith, one baptism and all of that (Eph. 4:5). Though I believe that the Baptist denomination is the most Biblically accurate of all denominations, the label itself is a man-made invention. As far as I know, I personally will always remain Baptistic, even if I do not fall neatly into the theological category of "Baptist". But it seems to me, because I was once here myself, that we have become Christians, invented labels, conflated them with Christianity, and tried to maintain control over our inventions, instead of being subject to the Spirit in obedience to Christ, however sincere our intentions.

volfan007

david,

my comment was not directed toward you. i know that you did not make that comment, nor did you approve the "blue blooded" southern baptist comment. i'm sorry if you took it as a dig towards you. that was not my intention. i was moreso playing off of selah's comment...to expand on her accurate thoughts... with the arrogance diplayed by some others, who are so "against" the so called baptist identity guys, in mind.

david

peter lumpkins

All,

I have to go back on my former comment where I said I would respond to your questions. Please forgive me. I must move on.

I placed up another post. I feel like some sort of response was necessary to Burleson & Brister, both dissenters, even if possessing different agendas.

This is getting hotter than i expected it to. Now, Brister has gone about as dirty as it can get by suggesting one's integrity is missing if he pastors/attends a church that meets his definition of "regenerate". He explicitly indicts Barber & Yarnell with such moral absurdity.

So, if your question is very important, either email it or bring it back up on Part III I hope to post Sunday afternoon.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

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